School of Health Professions

PT professor presents at international conference on the effect of virtual reality on post-stroke depression

Assistant Professor Sandeep Subramanian


By Kate Hunger


Physical Therapy Assistant Professor Sandeep Subramanian, PhD, MSc, BPTh, served as scientific chair for the International Conference for Virtual Rehabilitation this summer during RehabWeek 2022 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Subramanian, who is a board member of the International Society for Virtual Rehabilitation, served as co-chair of a keynote address presented by Associate Professor John Quarles, PhD, of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Subramanian reviewed submissions for the conference, judged podium and poster presentations and won the senior award for the best podium presentation for his talk on the effect of virtual reality on reducing depression after stroke. Almost 55% of people report feeling depressed after a stroke, he said.

“The level of difficulty is very individualized,” he said. “With video games we can set something to be easy if the patient finds it to be too difficult, or we can make it more difficult if the patient finds it to be too easy.  What we have with VR is  a platform where you can combine all of these elements that make therapy fun and motivating. It’s this whole enjoyment aspect. You can tend to focus more on the ability of the person.”

Subramanian’s collaborators on the VR and post-stroke depression research he discussed in his talk include Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Jeremy Davis, PsyD, ABPP-CN, and Summer Rolin, PsyD, Department of Neurology, Anjali Sivaramakrishnan, PT, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, and Jasmine HaMohammad, DPT, Erin Brasseux, DPT, and Walter Sales, DPT.

The conference provided ample opportunities for attendees to connect with other researchers, Subramanian said.

“We met so many different people from around the world,” he said. “There is hope for collaborations; it opens up huge doors.”

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